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Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Terraneo T.I.,University of Milan Bicocca | Galli P.,University of Milan Bicocca | Galli P.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2014

The Indo-Pacific scleractinian coral family Lobophylliidae was recently described on the basis of molecular data and micromorphological and microstructural characters. We present the most comprehensive molecular phylogeny reconstruction of the family to date based on COI and rDNA including 9 genera and 32 species, 14 of which were investigated for the first time. The monophyly of the family is now strongly supported, with the inclusion of the genera Acanthastrea and Micromussa, whereas previously it was based on uncertain molecular relationships. Nevertheless, these and the other lobophylliid genera Echinophyllia, Micromussa, Oxypora, and Symphyllia, are not themselves monophyletic and need to be investigated from a morphological point of view. Acanthastrea faviaformis is nested within the family Merulinidae. This study highlights the need for further analyses at species level and of formal taxonomic actions. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Seveso D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Seveso D.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 4 more authors.
Marine Biology Research | Year: 2015

Mushroom corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia: Fungiidae) have been well documented as hosts of a rich associated fauna, but no records involving the symbiotic hydrozoan genus Zanclea (Hydrozoa: Capitata: Zancleidae) are known. These small (~1 mm long), coral-associated hydroids have only been reported from associations involving 23 non-fungiid scleractinian host species in the Indo-Pacific. Since both groups, Fungiidae and coral-dwelling Zanclea hydroids, are known to occur on Indo-Pacific coral reefs, it was unclear why no mushroom coral hosts were known. Therefore, a survey in the Maldives was performed aiming at the discovery of Zanclea–Fungiidae associations. Subsequently, 10 new host species were discovered and the number of recorded coral host genera increased from 17 to 24, taking recent taxonomic revisions into account. These findings indicate that the coral-associated biodiversity is still insufficiently explored. © 2015 Taylor & Francis. Source

Stanca E.,University of Salento | Roselli L.,University of Salento | Durante G.,University of Salento | Seveso D.,University of Milan Bicocca | And 4 more authors.
Transitional Waters Bulletin | Year: 2013

1 - Phytoplankton is considered as a natural bioindicator of water quality because of its sensitivity and its complex and rapid response to change of environmental conditions. 2 - The aim of this study was to investigate and provide important new information about the checklist of phytoplankton species in different lagoons of the Faafu atoll in Maldivian archipelago. 3 - A total of 140 phytoplankton taxa were identified. In terms of species richness, dinoflagellates were the largest group with 55 identified taxa belonging to 22 genera. Coscinodiscophyceae recorded 38 taxa belonging to 14 genera; Bacillariophyceae represented by 18 taxa belonging to 10 genera and Fragilariophyceae recorded 11 taxa belonging to 8 genera. Most of the other classes were poorly represented with only one or , at most, two taxa for each genus. © 2013 University of Salento- SIBA. Source

Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Kitano Y.F.,University of Miyazaki | Stolarski J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Hoeksema B.W.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center | And 9 more authors.
Zoologica Scripta | Year: 2014

Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that most traditional families of zooxanthellate shallow-water scleractinians are polyphyletic, whereas most families mainly composed of deep-sea and azooxanthellate species are monophyletic. In this context, the family Dendrophylliidae (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) has unique features. It shows a remarkable variation of morphological and ecological traits by including species that are either colonial or solitary, zooxanthellate or azooxanthellate, and inhabiting shallow or deep water. Despite this morphological heterogeneity, recent molecular works have confirmed that this family is monophyletic. Nevertheless, what so far is known about the evolutionary relationships within this family, is predominantly based on skeleton macromorphology, while most of its species have remained unstudied from a molecular point of view. Therefore, we analysed 11 dendrophylliid genera, four of which were investigated for the first time, and 30 species at molecular, micromorphological and microstructural levels. We present a robust molecular phylogeny reconstruction based on two mitochondrial markers (COI and the intergenic spacer between COI and 16S) and one nuclear (rDNA), which is used as basis to compare micromorphogical and microstructural character states within the family. The monophyly of the Dendrophylliidae is well supported by molecular data and also by the presence of rapid accretion deposits, which are ca. 5 μm in diameter and arranged in irregular clusters, and fibres that thicken the skeleton organized in small patches of a few micrometres in diameter. However, all genera represented by at least two species are not monophyletic, Tubastraea excluded. They were defined by traditional macromorphological characters that appear affected by convergence, homoplasy and intraspecific variation. Micromorphogical and microstructural analyses do not support the distinction of clades, with the exception of the organization of thickening deposits for the Tubastraea clade. © 2014 The Norwegian Academy of Science. Source

Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Stefani F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Stefani F.,CNR Water Research Institute | Pichon M.,Museum of Tropical Queensland | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

Recent phylogenetic analyses have demonstrated the limits of traditional coral taxonomy based solely on skeletal morphology. In this phylogenetic context, Faviidae and Mussidae are ecologically dominant families comprising one third of scleractinian reef coral genera, but their phylogenies remain partially unresolved. Many of their taxa are scattered throughout most of the clades of the Robust group, and major systematic incongruences exist. Numerous genera and species remain unstudied, and the entire biogeographic area of the Indian Ocean remains largely unsampled. In this study, we analyzed a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene and a portion of ribosomal DNA for 14 genera and 27 species of the Faviidae and Mussidae collected from the Indian Ocean and New Caledonia and this is the first analysis of five of these species. For some taxa, newly discovered evolutionary relationships were detected, such as the evolutionary distinctiveness of Acanthastrea maxima, the genetic overlap of Parasimplastrea omanensis and Blastomussa merleti, and the peculiar position of Favites peresi in clade XVII together with Echinopora and Montastraea salebrosa. Moreover, numerous cases of intraspecific divergences between Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean populations were detected. The most striking cases involve the genera Favites and Favia, and in particular Favites complanata, F. halicora, Favia favus, F. pallida, F. matthaii, and F. rotumana, but divergence also is evident in Blastomussa merleti, Cyphastrea serailia, and Echinopora gemmacea. High morphological variability characterizes most of these taxa, thus traditional skeletal characteristics, such as corallite arrangement, seem to be evolutionary misleading and are plagued by convergence. Our results indicate that the systematics of the Faviidae and the Mussidae is far from being resolved and that the inclusion of conspecific populations of different geographical origin represents an unavoidable step when redescribing the taxonomy and systematics of scleractinian corals. More molecular phylogenies are needed to define the evolutionary lineages that could be corroborated by known and newly discovered micromorphological characters. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

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